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Events of Translation: Intertextuality and Christian Ethnotheologies of Change among Guhu-Samane, Papua New Guinea



ABSTRACT  Translation has long been a part of anthropology, and recently analysts have focused on the politics, poetics, and ethics of translations that account for much of the global flow of discourses. This literature can be thought of as histories of how translators forge denotational links between source and target texts and how communities engage with the texts that result. Here, however, I want to highlight a different mode of translation in which connections between source and target texts become models of transformation for communities that engage with them. Moreover, participants can actually enact transformations in ritual moments that foreground the relationships between translated texts. I focus on Guhu-Samane Christian communities of Papua New Guinea who use performances of the local-language translation of the New Testament to comment on the kind of Christian transformations they have experienced. This perspective offers a particularly compelling way to investigate Christian models of temporality.

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